Meet The Share Shop: A Newcastle Library of Things

I would love you to meet The Share Shop: A Newcastle Library of Things to borrow. The Share Shop is a non-for-profit association run by a committed team of volunteers, based in Newcastle NSW.

The Share Shop is part of the library of things movement, which challenges people to rethink about whether you need (or want) to own goods you rarely use. Bringing people together, The Share Shop supports the daily habits of reducing the amount of wasted resources and gives you a place to borrow items you need occasionally.

As told by Emma Thomson, this is The Share Shop’s story.

Some links in this blogpost are my partnership recommendations to you. I may receive a commission when you click through and purchase.

The Share Shop Idea

We want to create a vast library of useful things in a friendly space where the community can borrow items and learn how to use them. Our aim is to:

  • get people spending less money on stuff they don’t necessarily need to own,
  • reduce waste eventuating from the disposal of unwanted items,
  • reduce our carbon footprint by enabling access to resources near our homes and workplaces, and
  • using less of the planet’s resources.

We also see sharing as a way of improving connection within the community, it’s an exciting way for people to come together.

My Motivation & Inspiration 

I was on parental leave with my second child who was one of those kids that caught every virus and bug! It was hard and I needed something positive to focus on that I could dip in and out of when I had the time and energy. I’ve followed the share economy for a long time and was reading an article that focused on the community benefits of a ‘library of things’ and thought I’d like to be a part of something like it.

It was really that there were others in the Newcastle community that wanted to set something up. I wouldn’t have done it alone.

Finding Community Volunteers

I put a call out on Facebook and some brave people answered. We then set up a regular meeting and pretty much had new, interested people turn up to all our meetings!

Our Place of Sharing

We were looking into potential locations for The Share Shop when another organisation told us about an opportunity to participate in a start-up community space. It was exciting because we see sharing as a way to build community and reduce environmental impacts so being co-located with other similar organisations was really appealing. It’s also reasonably close to the city of Newcastle and Newcastle University and we wanted to be in a location that would be accessible to a wide range of people.

Collating and Collecting Items for Borrowing

We put together a wish list based on what other ‘library of things’ offer and also what we thought we’d like to borrow.

Items need to be hardy and in good working order when they’re donated. We don’t take weapons! And we don’t accept items that can’t be easily cleaned such as mattresses. We’d love to have the capacity to repair items in the future.

Kitchen items, tools and sporting goods feature strongly in our inventory, as these are items that the Newcastle community donated to us. They are also the kind of things that you don’t necessarily need to use all the time. What appeals to different people will be different because…..we’re all different with different interests!

Our most popular items are drills, gardening tools and games.

Our most unusual item depends on who you ask! Maybe the portable chocolate fountain or the moon boot? To me, it’s the scroll saw because I have no idea how it works but it probably seems very sensible to someone that uses one. In fact, I just googled it and I think it makes a lot of sense for us to have one!

Lessons Learned

I’ve learnt a lot about web sites, social media, graphic design and marketing and I’m still learning a lot! I’ve been absolutely inspired by the people I’ve met and continue to meet and I’m becoming more comfortable with doing things that aren’t perfect because if we’d waited until we had a perfect plan we probably wouldn’t ever open!

Connecting with Other People

The Share Shop has so, so, so many benefits for both individuals and community. Research shows that high consumption lifestyles that so many of us have don’t lead to happiness. Some of the things that make us happy are connecting with other people, with nature and learning.

Being a part of The Share Shop you can reduce the amount of money you’re spending on things you don’t need, reduce the amount of space (and cost) needed to store things, reduce clutter to provide yourself with calmer surroundings and have access to a range of things to support you in learning, connecting with nature and connecting with others.

If you want to be more connected in your community we welcome volunteers and visitors. Whilst The Share Shop is opened to the public limited hours, there’s lots of ways to be involved, and there’s always something happening in Shed 11, Hamilton North. On top of all that, if you want to declutter we’re happy to rehome good quality, useful things!

Thanks Emma for sharing your story about Newcastle’s The Share Shop. It’s wonderful to read how just one little inkling of an idea and passion contributes to the bigger picture of zero waste living.

For more information about concepts covered in The Share Shop’s story, here are other sites to enjoy:-

If you’re interested in reading more about decluttering, zero waste living, reducing waste and reducing consumerism, borrow these books from your local library first or buy now by clicking on these links:-

Some links in this blogpost are my partnership recommendations to you. I may receive a commission when you click through and make a purchase.

Meet Your Community is a collection of non-sponsored blogposts, and may include partnership links. The blogposts focus on individual people who make a difference at a personal or local community level.

If you or someone you know is interested in being a part of this series, click here to download the free information brochure or contact me.

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